Yesterday I passed a home that had about 100 Nerf bullets lying around the yard. A veritable shrine of harmless shrapnel left behind from an afternoon of fun by some little family. It made me sigh as I realized how much I missed seeing Nerf bullets spew from every crevice in my house. When the cherubs were little it used to drive me crazy. Everywhere I looked I would see Nerf bullets, legos, super hero action figures and pellets rolling around. I used to cajole, beg and nag them to pick them up. I even provided color coded buckets. They would comply to the best of their 6 & 8 year old ability. But let’s face it they had the attention span of a gnat. There was still stuff everywhere. We would sit on the couch and get a little batman hand in an uncomfortable place or step on a lego on the way to the bathroom
It got me thinking of all the things that used to irritate me. In retrospect they were really precious fleeting moments. I wish I could have appreciated them at the time.
That is the funny thing about parenting. Almost every moment is precious, you just don’t know it until it is gone.
Below is my list of some things I wish I could have as a do over;
- One of my cherubs could not fall asleep unless I rubbed their back. I just wanted to go to bed. Exhausted I would fall asleep too. But 9 out of 10 times I would wake up later with a sweet little chubby arm around my neck.
- Reading “Guess How Much I Love You”? 5 times in a row every night.
Now I get teary every time I look at that dusty book on my shelf and realize no one wants me to read it to them.
- Brushing their teeth – By the time I wrangled them to the bathroom and had them sit still for 2 minutes I was tuckered out. But my memory is of how sweet their little faces were looking up with such trust.
- Baths seemed like such a mess at the time, especially when 2 or 3 of them were in the tub together. Actually it was such a sweet time of laughter. The mess seems insignificant now.
- Playing games in the car or in a restaurant. At the time I just wanted a little peace and quiet.I did not want to play I Spy again. Now I have plenty of peace and quiet. I am not complaining. I appreciate this time but I really wish I had just enjoyed a few more games instead of powering through them to keep everyone quiet.
- “Mom come in the pool, please mom, it isn’t very cold. Mom get in the pool” 30 times over and over. – for the love all I wanted to do was read a magazine and make sure everyone was safe. Now they drive off to the pool or the beach and give me a hug goodbye. I would love to soak in how tickled they would get when I actually got in the pool.
- Santa exposed – I have to be honest the first year cherub #3 grew out of Santa was pretty sweet. No more evading the “Is Santa real”? question. It took a ton of pressure off. I wasn’t secretly buying and hiding gifts weeks before Christmas. I didn’t have to sneak home on my lunch break to wrap them. I didn’t have to write the letter of thanks for the cookies in a false writing to throw them off the scent. It was a super easy Christmas. That lasted about a minute and then I realized that it had changed forever. It isn’t a bad change but it is different and it will never be that way again.
- Little people crawling into bed in the wee hours. Sure it meant an occasional foot in the face or slap upside the head in the middle of the night but it also meant smelling their sweet little toddler smells and kissing their hands that still hadn’t formed knuckles. Now they don’t smell very sweet and they have giant hands with knuckles.
- Those noisy toys. It is not that I miss the noise. I am actually glad that is over, but I miss their delight in playing with them and watching their little chubby legs waddle around pushing or pulling whatever it was. Now it is earplugs in, tuned into technology or studying for school. I miss playtime.
. What about you? When you look back what do you want to remember? Think about what bugs you now and project out 10 years when your little cherubs are driving off into the sunset on whatever adventure they are going to without you.
You will have lots of time to cook, keep the house clean, exercise and all that stuff that seems important now and you may realize it was never important at all.